This paper focuses on the present economic performance and competitiveness of Costa Rica as a country. The changes that the country has registered in its economy will be reviewed with reference to the GDP per capita and the GDP growth rate, inflation, and the unemployment levels in the country added to the social effects of the changes. These indicators will, thus, be used to indicate the economic performance and its competitiveness.
The economy of Costa Rica has been fairly stable for relatively a long duration and a registered great sense of competitiveness. The exports have also increased marginally across time especially with its increased industrialization. The country’s exports were $10.77 billion in 2011 and $9.375 billion in 2010. The export products have been bananas, coffee, melons, pineapples, sugar, beef, electronic component and seafood. On the other hand, the imports have slightly hiked with time. In 2010, the country registered $15.08 billion and $12.95 billion in 2010 in terms of imports. In Latin America, Costa Rica has attracted the highest level of foreign direct investments compared to other countries.
The poverty level in Costa Rica has remained relatively stable at 15-20% in the past 10 years. However, due to the financial constraints associated with government expenditure, the strong safety net that existed 10 years ago has declined. The GDP relating to the purchasing power parity of Costa Rica in 2011 was approximately $54.47 billion compared to $52.33 billion of the GDP in 2010 and 50.29 billion in the year 2009. The economic progress and performance of the country can further be illustrated by GDP representing the official exchange rate which was approximately $40 billion in 2011. When this is broken down further by sector, the GDP of agricultural sector was 6.9%; industrial sector was 26.1% while the services sector constituted 66.9% in 2010. The GDP real growth rate in 2011 was, thus, estimated to be 4% while ranked in comparison to the world, Costa Rica was in position 97 globally, 4.2% in 2010 and -1.3% in 2009.
Determining the economic performance and competitiveness of Costa Rica requires a review of the performance of the country in terms of the GDP-per capita (PPP). Economic surveys indicate that the GDP per capita (PPP) for Costa Rica was $ 11,500 in 2011, $ 11,300 in 2010, $11,100 in 2009. These indices show a country whose economic status is relatively stable and progressing albeit marginally amidst the challenges that globalized economies of most countries have been facing in the past 10 years. Besides, the unemployment rates in Costa Rica have been declining progressively, an indication of an economy that is stable and progressing competitively. For example, in 2011 the unemployment rate was 6.5%. This made Costa Rica to rank 72 globally. Unemployment rates in 2010 were 6.9% and even higher in the previous years. Declining rates of unemployment and industrialization have promoted investment in education sector, improvement in the standard of living and quality of services offered by various sectors.
Inflation rates for consumer prices have been declining with time, global economic recession notwithstanding. In 2011, the country’s inflation rate on consumer prices was 5.3% and 5.7% in 2010. This is very competitive especially on the basis of its indication of economic progress in Costs Rica. Declining inflation and employment rates have made the cost of living more affordable, promoted industrialization and attracted foreign direct investments in the country.
In conclusion, the economic performance of Costa Rica across time has been quite progressive. Even amidst global economic recession, the country has preformed fairly well and competitively especially with industrialization, rise in exports, increased foreign direct investment, and declining unemployment rates. The other significant indicator of the economic competitiveness of Costa Rica across time is the decline of the inflations rates and the stability of consumer prices of goods and services in the country.